89 Days To Football*

89 Days to Ohio State Football Buckeyes

The days are flying by now. We are just 89 days away from football*, and by this time tomorrow there’s a good chance we’ll be even closer.

While I enjoy this countdown project, I don’t ever want to wish away the summer. Summer is when I can recharge my batteries a bit because there is nothing better than having nothing better to do.

I live for it.

But I also really, really like college football, so I never get too upset at the speed with which the summer zips by my face.

I don’t know if this countdown helps or hurts that zipping. I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t matter because words don’t affect space-time, no matter what Interstellar or Arrival tell you.

Anyway, there’s a bunch of stuff to get to below, but don’t forget to check out yesterday’s installment if you haven’t yet.

Now please join us as we continue our countdown of the 100 greatest Buckeyes of The Ozone era (1996-present).

We will also preview one of the 100 most exciting games on this fall’s college football schedule, and one of the 100 things we’re most looking forward to this fall.

Plus, we’ll preview one of this season’s 100 biggest personnel matchups.

Greatest Buckeyes Of The Ozone Era

#89 Chimdi Chekwa, 2006-2010

Chimdi Chekwa was a 3-star cornerback prospect out of Clermont, Florida in 2006. He was ranked 45th at his position by Rivals. The vast majority of the corners ranked ahead of him are a who’s who of who’s that? Chekwa held offers from Ohio State, Clemson, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Iowa State, Georgia Tech and a few others. He was hoping for an offer from Florida head coach Urban Meyer, but it never came.

Chekwa eventually chose the Buckeyes, and Jim Tressel’s staff went about its normal business of turning 3-star defensive backs into NFL draft picks. He redshirted in 2006, but then started once as a redshirt freshman. It was the first of his 38 career starts.

Not only was Chimdi Chekwa a 3-year starter, he was also a 3-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. Then in 2010, following a year where he amassed 42 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, three interceptions, and 12 passes defended, he was named First-Team All-American. He was the third different Buckeye defensive back to be named All-American over the previous three years, joining Malcolm Jenkins in 2008 and Kurt Coleman in 2009.

Chekwa was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. His last year on an active roster was 2016 with the Miami Dolphins.

Best Games This Fall

#89 LSU at Florida

Playing an SEC East team on the road is sometimes as close as an SEC West team gets to playing a non-conference game on the road.

It’s like a dress rehearsal for a play that nobody is ever going to write.

Dan Mullen begins the last job he’s ever going to have this season as Florida’s new head coach. At Mississippi State, Mullen went 2-7 against LSU. He started out 0-5 against them, but then began to turn the tide a bit over the last four years. Now, he gets to host them in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Florida plays Kentucky at home in week two, but this matchup on October 6 is the Gators’ first real home game against legitimate SEC opponent. This is where Mullen’s Florida program makes a statement.

What We Can’t Wait To See

#89 Joe Burrow as a Starter

I am really looking forward to Joe Burrow as a starting quarterback. Leading his team out of the tunnel and onto the field. Firing them up, chewing them out, and scoring touchdowns upon touchdowns.

I just don’t know where it’s going to be.

I’ll watch him wherever he goes, however, because I’ve been wanting to see what he could do with 75 snaps for a while now.

Matchup To Watch

#89 Rodney Smith, MINN RB vs. Baron Browning

The Minnesota Golden Gophers come to Ohio State in the middle of the season on October 13. By that point, there’s a pretty good chance that Tuf Borland will be back starting in the middle. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t still see Baron Browning somewhere.

Browning was moved from the Mike to the Will in spring practice, and only moved back to the Mike after Borland’s Achilles injury. OSU linebackers coach Bill Davis told me Browning would have stayed at the Will if not for the injury. What that tells me is we could see Browning back there again this fall when Borland is ready to go.

Regardless of where Browning is, he is going to have some company on October 13 in the form of Gophers running back Rodney Smith.

Smith has rushed for 2,805 yards in his career, doing much of it right alongside tag-team partner Shannon Brooks. Brooks, however, suffered a leg injury in the offseason and is out for 2018. This means that Smith is the only veteran running back on the Gophers’ roster. He is going to get some work this year, and Baron Browning is going to attempt to lay him off when he comes to Columbus.